Since my post on our trip to the Antiques Roadshow, I have had some requests for more information about our Indian baskets. The basket on the left is Jicarilla Apache and dates from c. 1920 and the basket on the right is Western Apache and is from c. 1910.
The Western Apache basket is 13 1/2" tall and from my mother's side of the family. It is jar-shaped (olla) and probably made of sumac or willow. My grandmother with her parents made a road trip from Colorado to southern California when she was a young girl. A road trip in the early 1900s was quite an excursion, and my grandmother had a strong recollection of the trip. Her parents got this basket on the trip, and my grandmother's keepsake was a beautiful, large shell from the beach.
I remember this basket at my great-grandparent's house sitting by the back door next to a chair. My great-grandfather kept his clean, rolled up socks in it. He would sit in the chair each morning to put on his shoes and socks before going outside to farm. When the basket came to live at my grandmother's house, she kept it in the kitchen, also, and stored her clean little plastic margarine tubs in it for future use.
One time I was visiting my grandmother in Kansas and we were sitting there eating breakfast. She asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Jokingly, I told her, "The basket!" When we got ready to return to Colorado, she came out to the car with the basket, "Take it now, so I won't have to mail it." I was thrilled beyond belief!! At a later time, she also gave me her precious shell.
The large basket with the lid is 17" tall and came to me through my dad's side of the family. It is Jicarilla Apache from Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and dates from the 1920s. It was probably made specifically for trade to the whites for use as a clothes hamper, which is what my family used it for.
During the 1920s, my grandfather was in partnership with Edward Sargent of Chama, New Mexico in the sheep and cattle ranching business. At one time, they ran sheep and cattle on 15,000 acres of ranch land in southern Colorado. Mr. Sargent was also associated with the Chaco Canyon Trading Post, where this basket came from. In my paternal grandparent's home, I remember there were several Indian blankets and rugs with this basket. After my grandparents were gone, this basket was in my bachelor uncle's home. I simply told him one day that after he was through with the basket, I would love to have it. He gave it to me on the spot.
The colors of the interior of the basket are still very strong, but on the outside the dyes have faded.
Some day, I hope my children will also treasure these two baskets.